Psychological Illness

psychological illness

Psychological illness is a group of disorders that affect the way people think, feel, and behave. They can also cause problems with the way people take care of themselves and the things around them. Effective treatment options exist including psychosocial interventions, behavioural and occupational therapies and medication. These treatments have been shown to improve the symptoms of a variety of psychological disorders and to increase people’s ability to function.

The concept of mental illness has received more attention in recent years because the eradication and treatment of many serious physical illnesses have left a larger proportion of people with disorders affecting their mind and emotions. These disorders often have very serious consequences and can greatly reduce a person’s quality of life. In addition, the symptoms of these disorders can sometimes be mistaken for medical conditions such as heart disease or diabetes.

Most mental disorders are the result of a combination of factors. Some factors are protective and some are risk factors. Protective factors include such things as a good education and social support. Risk factors can be genetics, brain structure and functioning, family history, and early childhood experiences such as abuse or neglect. Individuals can develop a mental disorder when they are exposed to stressors that overwhelm their coping abilities. These stresses can come from inside or outside the home. They may be caused by events such as divorce, death of a loved one, job loss, or major life change. These stressors can lead to a variety of psychological disorders such as depression, bipolar disorder, panic attacks, substance abuse and anxiety.

Different mental health disorders manifest at different times of life. For example, eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa and several types of schizophrenia tend to start in childhood and adolescence. Psychiatric disorders such as bipolar disorder, depression, and alcohol dependence occur more frequently in adulthood. Other disorders such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and presenile and senile dementias develop in middle and older age.

Mental illnesses are classified according to a standardized system such as the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders produced by the American Psychiatric Association or the International Classification of Diseases produced by the World Health Organization. These classification systems are used worldwide to diagnose and identify psychological disorders. They have been criticized for the way they categorize symptoms, because they often reflect culturally expected responses to certain life events, and because they can cover such a wide range of behaviours.

People who have a mental disorder face stigma because of the way others perceive their condition and how it impacts their social interactions. Stigma slows recovery by making individuals reluctant to seek help and often leads to a lack of adherence to treatment regimens. Moreover, it can lead to self-defeating beliefs and behaviours such as denial, shame, and hopelessness. In some cases, it can even lead to suicide.